The Internet has made many changes over the last few years on ways to gather news. There are the standard news sites such as Fox and CNN, but the growing popularity of social media sites, such as Twitter, have made grasping a constant flow of news easier than ever.
If you have a Twitter account, you probably know by now that you have complete control of selecting the people, companies, and news sources that you would like to follow. As they tweet their allotted 140-character message, it is instantly posted on your timeline for you to read. This is what can make Twitter a convenient source to read news. Reading a short post to get important information is not only easier, but also faster than reading a full story. Keep in mind that if you would like to read further into a story, most sources post a link so you may do so.
Reading off of your timeline is not the only way to keep posted with fresh news. Twitter also gives the option to hash tag (#) words, or acronyms, to connect with everybody talking about the same topic. For example, President Barack Obama recently gave the State of the Union address last Tuesday. “#SOTU” was a popular tag for tweeters following along with Obama’s speech. Using sites such as Twitterfall, by entering #SOTU into the search bar, made it easy to watch a constant stream of what people had to say about this event. With that being said, is Twitter an effective reporting source for news on big topics such as the SOTU address? In my opinion, with few exceptions, it is.
When following along with a large topic on Twitter, you have to be careful as to what you believe. Although there are many good, constructive tweets, there are equally as many bad ones. There is a lot of garbage posted that can be distracting, but it is easy to weed through. What I mean by this is you will know a good or bad tweet when you see one. When I followed the SOTU address, I found that Twitterfall was a good source to use, but it became overwhelming because of the massive quantities of tweets being made at times. According to Twitter Blog, at various points in the speech, there were 24,000 tweets being made per-minute. This made watching the TV and following along on Twitter rather difficult, but does not discredit the value it has on relaying good updates. A combination of reading my timeline and using Twitterfall worked best for me.
Overall, with the fast paced society we live in today, Twitter makes it very easy to keep posted. I have had Twitter since 2009, but have only been active with my account for the last two years and almost to a fault, it has become an addiction. Any second I get a chance to take a glimpse at my phone, I do. It has proven itself, for me, to be a very good source to connect with friends and read the news.